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UNESCO's Board Must Vote ‘No’ to Obiang Prize at Tuesday’s Board Meeting

This is a joint post with Julia Barmeier.

Tuesday, June 15 marks the last day that the board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) can object to the UNESCO-Obiang International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, which is made possible by a $3 million grant given to UNESCO by Equatorial Guinea’s dictator of 31 years—Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. As we blogged earlier, UNESCO gets to keep half of the money as a finder’s fee for identifying the winner. If the award ceremony does go forward, Obiang plans to attend, along with UNESCO's director-general, Irina Bokova.

Postcard from Dubai—Infrastructure Investments May Eventually Prove Wise After All

Dubai must be seen to be believed. Even its skyline is unreal--rising straight out of the desert and now dominated by the 2625 ft tall, 160-story, silver and glass structure, the Burj Khalifa, built by Samsung to be twice as tall as the Empire State Building in New York. But two months after its grand opening, the Burj remains mostly empty with its observation deck closed to visitors--perhaps symbolic of the fate of this Emirate, which has recently become dependent on huge amounts of short-term debt to keep its economy going.